Top Ten Night: Songs of Billy Joel.
I love the early Billy Joel, which in my book was when (from the early 70s to mid-80s) he was sort of under a Beatles spell. Luckily, 99% of the songs tonight come from then.
The guest mentor with Jimmy Iovine was Diddy, who is half hype, half joke. His comments seemed to be more about image and less about real performing (because, consider the source) but he did get in a couple good ones about "feeling" a song. And his calling-out of Heejun for being basically this year's Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle (punking the show, in a good-spirited way) made him my hero, for about a minute.
This is your tour America. From experience, watching Idol over the years, means now that they have the tour performers set, some contestants will get thrown under the bus and others pimped as the Idol Powers set up the End Game…
Deandre: Only The Good Die Young. This kid had absolutely zero connection to this song. His hoppy, phoned-in performance wasn't technically bad, but boy was it boring. That, combined with the Kiss of Death Spot, spells almost certain doom, unless the TweenTard votes save him.
Erika: NY State of Mind. Wow, great new look. More than most others, the Idol experience is transforming her for the better. She did a great job, but I wonder what the judges think they're accomplishing with the "notes" on good vocals. The impression your average viewer is left with is probably confusing: are we supposed to take away the praise, or the criticism?
Joshua: She's Got a Way. Only really cranked up when the Gospel cavalry swooped in at the end and saved him. Though he has a MUCH better voice than Phil, he's sort of in the same boat -- all his stuff seems to have the same vibe, in Joshua's case, the Jesus one. The Fundies will have to split the vote between him and Colton, and Colton's not gay.
Skyler: Shameless. While I was bumfuzzled when Steven Tyler said he'd never heard of She's Got a Way, I had never heard of this one, nor had Dr. L. It was probably unrecognizable anyway, with all the Kountry Twang in it. I'm constantly laughing that the judges, Jimmy and the guest mentor all tell her to tone it down -- but she's still only got the two speeds, Off and Full Blast. It was all she could do to try and hold off for 8 bars. It was pretty good but I'm over her. Great hear, though.
Elise: Vienna. This is possibly my face Billy Joel song ever. Elise has a nice voice but Holy Crap the jazzy run thing she does is annoying. I especially hate the "marionette" thing she does with her hand. Get over yourself, people, you don't have to conduct your own orchestra as your sing. Who started this? Mariah? I blame her. Anyway, the judges CLEARLY want her to stay, but America is kind of "whatev" about her. If she doesn't have the fans now, pimping the kids onstage with her isn't going to help.
Phil Phil Revolution: Moving Out. This week he didn't sound like Dave Matthews at all! Just kidding, he totally did, it's painfully obvious he has no other way. I am beginning to enjoy the climax of every performance now: as he screams out the chorus in his growly DMB voice, he bares his teeth and a vein pops out on his forehead. Check it out. I do have to give the kid props, though, every week I expect him to come in hooked up to an IV. Had to laugh about his blow-off of Tommy "big in the 90s" Hilfiger.
Hollie: Honesty. I thought she looked and sounded great. If you squint she really captured the American Bandstand 1979 look. She does need to crank up the wow-factor in the performance, however; while her voice is better than Jessica's in many ways, Jessica's star is rising while Hollie is treading water.
Heejun: My Life. Good voice, goofy-ass performance. Sometimes, last night especially, his ESL way of phrasing is a bit distracting. Love the smack-down Steven gave him. So true, the music biz would crush him. But acting -- this kid could have a future in comedy, no doubt.
Jessica: Everybody Has A Dream. I have to admit it-- I was a hater on Jessica in weeks past. I didn't get it, nor did Dr. L. Last night, however, I became a Believer. It was really just the total package, everything came together, and we just looked at each other on the sofa after the song was over. I don't know if she can do this week after week, but she's really moved into Top 3 territory in my book.
Colton: Piano Man. The Chosen One. Maybe instead of WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) this year we will have WGWP (White Guy With Piano). A note to Colton, however: a bleached bi-color Mohawky-mullet doesn't make you Punk Rock, Dude. Put it into the performance, and you can look like freaking' Ronald Reagan, and it will be Punk Rock. I think he's actually closer to Coldplay than Johnny Rotten. But the judges are hellbent on him making it pretty far, so I guess he will.
America's B3: Deandre, Erika, Heejun.
Who's going home? I say… Deandre (sorry Rubbertoe!)